Obesity is becoming a huge problem throughout the world. From young kids, to elderly citizens, many people are afflicted with the condition. On top of that, it seems to be getting worse. The problem is that people fail to understand how much of a health hazard it is. If weight problems continue, they can give way to dozens of illnesses including diabetes, heart conditions, stroke, gallstones, high cholesterol, cancers of different types, and gout.
If you aren’t really into biology, then you may be surprised to hear that the pancreas is responsible for some very important hormones. It does not just help with digestive enzymes, but is also responsible for the production and release of insulin, the hormone responsible for the breakdown of sugar and other foods. If the pancreas is not working properly, it could lead to a lot of problems with blood sugar control as well as digestive issues within the body.
What makes the pancreas unique is that it functions as both endocrine and exocrine organ. It works in the endocrine system by releasing hormones like insulin, glucagon, pancreatic polypeptide, and somatostatin. Located in the abdominal cavity, the pancreas is one of the most vital organs of the body.
The pancreas is divided into four parts, the head of pancreas, the neck of pancreas, the body of pancreas and the tail of pancreas. Did you know that diabetes can occur because there is something wrong with the pancreas? Yes, if the pancreas isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to an inadequate amount of insulin production or no insulin production at all.
The part of pancreas that is endocrine in nature and produces hormones is known as islets of Langerhans. These are grape-like cell clusters that are responsible for the production of pancreatic hormones like insulin that help to control blood sugar. These islet cells contain four different types of cells:
- The alpha cells: These are the cells that comprise 20% of the islets and produce the hormone glucagon. Glucagon regulates blood glucose and is released in the blood when there is low blood sugar.
- The beta cells: The beta cells are the ones that create and secrete the hormone insulin. It comprises 75% of the islets. Whenever the blood sugar level is high, insulin is automatically released into the blood streams.
- The delta cells: These cells make up 4% of the islet cells and produce the hormones somatostatin and peptide hormones. The somatostatin hormone released by the pancreas is an inhibiting hormone and stops the release of insulin as well as glucagon.
- The PP cells: Making up about 1% of the islet cells, the PP cells secrete pancreatic polypeptide hormone. It is believed that this hormone is responsible for the appetite as well as regulation of endocrine as well as exocrine secretions. This hormone is released when a person fasts or when food consumption needs to stop.
The Role of Insulin and Glucagon
It is the job of insulin to help in moving glucose from the blood to other parts of the body like the muscles and tissues. It also helps in releasing energy so that the body can function properly. Insulin also lets the liver absorb all excess glucose and convert it to glycogen and store in the body for use during stressful situations.
The more sugar there is in blood, the more your insulin levels will rise. From fat cells to blood cells and muscles, all of them absorb glucose while insulin helps in its breakdown. Keep in mind that glucagon will never be released in blood streams if insulin is already present. This is the beauty of the pancreas, it knows when to release which hormones.
Glucagon is the hormone that is produced by pancreas in order to increase the supply of glucose from the body. As soon as the blood glucose levels go down, larger amounts of glucagon is secreted in the blood streams so as to get the glucose level to normal ranges again. Glucagon helps the liver in releasing stored glucose so that blood sugar levels can be maintained.
There is one other purpose of glucagon, it induces the liver and some other muscles to create glucose out of nutrients like proteins.
In order to avoid any kind of pancreatic disorder, you need to make sure that the diet you consume is full of all the nutrients required to keep the pancreas and its hormones healthy. Here is some advice from the National Pancreatic Foundation:
- Avoid consuming alcohol as that damages the production of hormones as well as enzymes
- Daily intake of fats should be no more than 20 grams per day
- Consume good amounts of water so that the body remains well hydrated
- Avoid smoking as that damages the health of the pancreas
Studies show that pancreas tends to regenerate itself if a person goes on a diet. This means that you consume lower amounts of calories than you are used to each day. This is said to be extremely beneficial for people who suffer from diabetes. The National Pancreatic Foundation states that people who have pancreatic issues or pain in their pancreas should observe fasting as that would help in improving their condition. Please contact Health Solutions Plus and see if you would be a candidate for The DNA Uprint, 716-773-4707.
The Foundation suggests that people who have diabetes or other pancreatic disorders should take a clear liquid diet for 1-2 days that consists of apple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice, broth and gelatin. Keep in mind thought that the fast should not be observed for too long as it could lead to severe nutrient deficiency. Once the fasting days are up, the person should consume a nutrient rich diet that is customized for them.
Also keep in mind that before you decide to keep any fasts or go on any kind of liquid diets, you need to talk to your doctor. If you already have diabetes, you will need to continue taking your medication with food. If there is any other kind of pancreatic problem, do not try any kind of remedy on your own without proper diagnosis or without meeting with your doctor. As you start to take care of yourself, your body will begin to heal. This takes time and patience. Some people are able to get off their medications in conjunction with their doctor who originally prescribed it in the first place. Make sure to keep an open line of communication with your doctor.
The pancreas is one of the most major organs of the body. If it does not function properly, serious medical conditions can result. The unique thing about this organ is that it performs both exocrine and endocrine functions, meaning it is responsible for the production of enzymes for metabolic reactions and hormones for the management of glucose in the body.
Did you know that diabetes can occur when your pancreas is not functioning inadequately? What’s more, many of the metabolic concerns you may be going through are because the pancreas is not making enough of those digestive juices. Here is all you need to know about the pancreas and the various hormonal disorders it can cause.
Pancreas -The Basics
The pancreas is the only organ in the body that work for both the endocrine and exocrine systems. The pancreas makes the hormones insulin and glucagon for the production and storage of glucose, but also secretes digestive enzymes to regulate the metabolic system.
Even though 90% of the pancreatic cells are busy facilitating the metabolic system, 10% of the remaining cells play an extremely significant part in making sure that blood sugar remains stabilized at all times.
Major hormones that the pancreas secrete are:
- Insulin: This is the hormone that is responsible for the regulation of glucose in the blood. Insulin absorbs the excess glucose, making sure that levels are normalized in the blood after intake of food or drink.
- Glucagon: This hormone releases glucose in the blood stream when the levels become too low. It is like anti-insulin and works in the opposite way.
- Somatostatin: This hormone is responsible for the management of salt in the blood stream. It also inhibits the production of insulin and glucagon.
- Gastrin: This hormone helps with digestion.
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP): This hormone is responsible for water loss from the body. It does this by releasing water and salts in the intestines.
If any of the above mentioned hormones are produced inadequately or in excessive amounts, then some kind of pancreatic dysfunction or imbalance takes place. Here are all the things that can go wrong with your pancreas.
Out of all the pancreatic disorders, diabetes is the most common. It takes place due to problems with the hormone insulin. Below you will find all the information about diabetes and other pancreatic hormonel disorders and what you can do about them.
When the pancreas become inflamed, it leads to a condition known as pancreatitis. This happens when the digestive enzymes start eating the pancreas itself. The condition can be acute or chronic depending on the severity of the condition. These are both serious issues that need immediate medical attention.
Acute pancreatitis is when the condition takes place suddenly and heals up quickly when treatment is started. The problem occurs when a person has gallstones. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vomiting and feelings of constant nausea. Treatment is simple enough with the patient given antibiotics, intravenous fluids and some medication for the abdominal pain.
Chronic pancreatitis is when the condition refuses to heal or get better with treatment. Once diagnosed, the patient has deteriorating health. For most people, chronic pancreatitis takes place due to excessive use of alcohol. Some other reasons why the disease occurs include hereditary causes such as cystic fibrosis, autoimmune diseases, high amounts of calcium or fats in blood, or even some medications.
Treatment includes hospitalization with nutritional support, medication for pain and fluids given through IV. Even after that, some enzymes are given that need to be taken for healing to occur.
2. Diabetes Type I & II
Diabetes is becoming one of the most commonly occurring diseases related to blood sugar. It is divided into two types, diabetes type I and II. When the pancreas produce no insulin in the body, then you would be suffering from diabetes type I. This problem mostly happen to children and young adults. It isn’t very common, but the patients need to take insulin shots in order to manage the condition. It is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system attack and destroy the cells which release insulin in the body.
Symptoms include, feelings of extreme thirst, frequent need for urination, dry mouth and fruity breath. If the condition remains unchecked and is not treated, it could become fatal. Treatment is for a lifetime where the patient needs to take insulin in order to manage their blood glucose levels.
Type II diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce enough amounts of insulin in order to meet the needs of the body or the body becomes resistant to insulin. The worse the condition gets, the less amount of insulin is made by the pancreas. It is more common among women than men.
The condition may need medication for severe cases, but it can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes as well. The less a person weighs, the more their diabetes will remain under control. Common signs of the condition include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, dry mouth, fatigue and headaches. This condition needs to be addressed immediately. Otherwise, it can lead to many other diseases like coronary heart problems, stroke, fatty liver disease and amputation of the limbs. If it gets too out of hand, diabetes can give way to death.
Another problem of the pancreatic hormones is hyperglycemia. This occurs when blood glucose levels get abnormally high. This happens when there is excessive production of the hormone glucagon. Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include fatigue, sugar in urine, headaches, increased hunger as well as thirst, and blurred vision. It can often be prevented by being aware of it and then making adjustments to diet.
The opposite of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia takes place when the blood sugar gets too low. This happens due to overproduction of the hormone insulin. Common symptoms include anxiety, fatigue and sleepiness, nervousness, confusion, heart palpitations, hunger, dizziness and blurred vision.
This condition can be prevented when the patient is aware of what is going on. Once diagnosed it can be helped with changes in diet and lifestyle. Contact Health Solutions Plus, 716-773-4707, for some guidance and direction.
5. Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancers can occur because of some hereditary issues, chronic pancreatitis, smoking, or long-term diabetes. The problem with pancreatic cancer is that it is hard to diagnose because symptoms are vague. The tumor is not easily seen during routine exams or general physical exam.
If the cancer spreads, it becomes very difficult to treat and chances of survival are low. But if diagnosed early on, it can be treated with chemo, targeted therapy and radiation.
If you have been feeling any pains in the region of your pancreas or some of the symptoms mentioned above, get in touch with your health practitioner immediately. They will run some tests to see what you may be suffering from and once diagnosis is made, treatment could begin. Remember, the sooner a disease is detected, the more successful it can be managed.. So please do not ignore your symptoms. They are there to warn you of a problem.
The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system that are responsible for the production and secretion of various hormones that control many bodily functions. If something happens to the adrenal glands or there is some kind of disruption in the production of hormones, it can lead to many other symptoms felt elsewhere in the body.
Hair loss is one of the most heartbreaking thing that men and women of all ages can experience. Good hair is the major reason why many people feel so confident about the way they look. Imagine those lustrous locks swaying from side to side on a beautiful day. Just the thought can put a smile on your face. Hair loss, no matter what the age, is a huge setback for people.
Fatty liver and hormones? How can the two possibly be connected? The liver has nothing to do with hormones, or so it seems! What is fatty liver disease anyway? These are only a few of the questions that may be going through your mind. Maybe you don’t know what fatty liver disease is, or maybe you have just recently been told that your hormones are imbalanced. Rest assured, there are answers for you.
The very first thing that you need to know is that liver has a huge connection with hormones and its imbalance, even though the liver itself doesn’t produce any hormones. It is the liver that causes the breakdown of steroid hormones in order to perform a variety of functions. Here is what happens:
- Liver helps in breaking down the hormone cortisone which is responsible for the control of the immune system
- Helps with sex hormones in order to keep sex life as well as body shape maintained
- Manages aldosterone that is in charge of water and its minerals, potassium and sodium
If there is something wrong with the liver and it does not work at its optimum level, then these hormones will not be managed efficiently and this will adversely affect many bodily functions. When the sex hormones are imbalanced, there can be complications with sexual functions. Similarly, if aldosterone is not broken down, it can give way to fluid retention, which causes weight gain, aggravation of cellulite, and a rise in blood pressure.
Still not sure if it is your liver that is giving you hormonal issues? Here is some information about fatty liver and what hormonal problems arise because of it.
Fatty Liver Disease
There is always a certain amount of fat in all organs, including the liver. If fat accumulations get too high, it can cause malfunctioning of the liver and this is known as fatty liver disease. There are two types of fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. If the disease is not treated in time it could lead to cirrhosis, or the scarring of the liver tissue. This condition is irreversible and can lead to death.
Studies show that about 10-20 percent of Americans suffer from fatty liver disease, but the condition is often easily controlled and resolved. Most patients are between the ages of 40-60 years when diagnosed. If the disease is not detected in time, and then progresses, it can become irreversible. Some general symptoms of fatty liver disease are:
- Weight loss
- Physical weakness
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If you have any of the above symptoms, or if you have been diagnosed with hormonal issues, then you need to make sure that your liver is also checked. You may be suffering from fatty liver condition, particularly if you are a habitual user of alcohol. The sooner you see a doctor and get your diagnosis made, the better. If the condition progresses and liver cirrhosis sets in, chances of survival will go down very fast. You could even have liver failure along with whatever kind of hormonal imbalance you are currently facing.
So what is the connection between hormones and the liver?
Hormonal Imbalance and Fatty Liver Disease
Research suggests that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can occur due to diabetes type II, which means hormonal issues. What’s more, some cases make it clear that the disease takes place due to irregular growth hormone, PCOS, hypothyroidism, and hypercortisolism. This clearly indicates that hormonal imbalance can be a major reason why NAFLD takes place, particularly among women.
This unfortunately is not where the connections ends. Studies have made it clear that if you have fatty liver disease, then your hormones are not going to function like they should. When it comes to sex hormones, estrogen is affected the most. Lack of breakdown can mean that your body has too much estrogen. This leads to pain in the breast tissue and can make them limp, weight gain to the point of obesity, heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, heavier hips, butts, and thighs. Cellulite can also form.
Males are also affected by this problem with the liver. Testosterone hormone is not broken down and it can cause weight gain on the upper parts of the body, abdomen, as well as the trunk. This problem can occur with women too and when they have access amounts of male hormones, they too can have heavier upper bodies, excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycle and adult acne. This can also lead to PCOS.
Fatty liver disease does not just attack sex hormones, but insulin too. When there is too much fat deposits in the liver, insulin does not work as it should because weight gain takes place. This can have an adverse effect of high secretion of insulin which is known as syndrome X.
By now you may be thinking that nothing can be done. With the right diagnosis, proper treatment can be started. As mentioned before, fatty liver disease is often reversible, so long as it is detected in time.
The doctor will most likely tell you to cease the consumption of alcohol, change your dietary habits, and perform regular exercise each and every day. You will notice that as your liver gets better, so does your hormonal disorder.
What you need to keep in mind though is that your liver condition could be the result of hormonal disorder and not the cause. This would mean that you will have to get care for your hormonal condition in order to correct the excess fatty deposits in the liver. Therefore, get yourself checked first and see what the problem is. Remember, the sooner you get yourself checked, the quicker you can do something about it and start leading a normal and productive life!